Soundgarden’s decision to bundle its “Telephantasm” greatest hits album with 1 million copies of the new “Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock” videogame has garnered it platinum record status by the RIAA, thanks to new rules created as a result of the partnership.
The bundle is the first time a new album has been bundled with a videogame. Past videogame-CD bundles involved games soundtracks. As a result, the RIAA created a new type of certification that, in the organization’s words, is “recognizing a band’s success based on the sale of non-returnable units from a music label to a gaming company, instead of to a traditional retailer.”
That’s certainly a mouthful, but it’s not exactly reflective of the album’s popularity. Rather, the album is taking advantage of the popularity of another product. No mistake, it’s a great promotional tool and an innovative way to get new music in front of potential fans, particularly for a band that’s reforming after a long hiatus. But the inevitable claims of Soundgarden scoring a platinum record right out of the gate should be treated with a grain of salt.
But there’s plenty to follow here in the Soundgarden/"Guitar Hero" effort. In addition to the one-week bundling effort (which by the way is exclusive to "Guitar Hero" for a week before the album goes on sale independently on Oct. 5), fans will get full access to the new album as downloadable content to play within the game.
The music-game genre has lagged in the last few years as the fad status wore off. So this in-game access will be a telling litmus test as to whether fans are still interested in playing along.